The idea for Youngpreneur Media was born in 2013 when Tsengiwe attended a tech startup boot camp set up by the US Government at the height of the Arab spring in Cairo, Egypt. She was so inspired by the tenacity and success of entrepreneurs from across Africa that she set out to retell the story of entrepreneurship to the youth of the continent and make a business out of it.

Tsengiwe and her founding partner, Bashanganyi Magwape, established the company with the aim of educating, informing and inspiring young minds for increased global consciousness and impact.

Building a business

When the pair entered the market, the conversations concerning youth entrepreneurship were minimal.

“This meant that on the corporate side, people didn’t see the need for our services, whilst on the production side we were positioning ourselves as a specialist in a service that wasn’t yet required,” says Tswengiwe.

Financially the company was burning more cash than it was making and the business partners found themselves questioning whether the idea was worth pursuing. Research, however, consistently proved that the idea had potential, particularly in Africa.

“We have the largest majority of under 35-year-olds and the only way the economies of the continent can be developed is by harnessing the entrepreneurial potential of the populations. So we made the choice to be a company that speaks directly to that market,” says Tsengiwe.

By calling people that would require their services, taking on smaller projects and always delivering, Youngpreneur Media established a solid reputation and built a strong network of clients.

“The moral of this story is never forsake small beginnings. It is from those beginnings that we learnt the market, came to the point of understanding its mechanisms and then took advantage of it,” she adds.

Media maven

Now four years later, Youngpreneur Media has cemented a name for itself in the market. The company is simultaneously working on five entrepreneurship related productions.

Its flagship offering, I Am Youngpreneur is a documentary series that profiles successful young entrepreneurs in South Africa, and soon, the rest of the continent. Leading Voices is a virtual roundtable show targeted at female entrepreneurs. The other productions include a teen comedy series for an international broadcaster and a documentary series that looks at the business key social challenges in South Africa today.

The company had its content aired on all South African Airways international flights and partnered for the first Global Entrepreneurship Congress to happen on the African continent.

Tsengiwe says the failure rate for start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa is as high as 90% and what she has picked up from telling the stories of entrepreneurs is what impact of ill preparation has.

“By putting less emphasis on the need to succeed and more on how to be the best version of yourself, we can create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to test and share their ideas, make mistakes and learn from,” she says.

Youngpreneur Media is currently working on building a 24-hour youth entrepreneurship content platform.

Tsengiwe’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Failure is not an end all – it’s only the beginning. If one idea doesn’t work, consider it as the opportunity to find out why – then work on that.
  • Sleep is not for the weak. It is necessary! It is critical that as an entrepreneur you take care of yourself.
  • Behind every successful entrepreneur is a team of people who are the first to believe in and invest in their ideas. Surround yourself with entrepreneurs and leaders who would have a clue about what you are experiencing.